In all my trips to Ballater, Braemar and the likes, I’ve never actually managed to stop in Banchory – a small but charming town on the main road between Aberdeen and the Highlands. So this particular Sunday, as I was on the go anyway, and with a gap in the schedule (just after golf, and before the Formula 1 Grand Prix on TV) I decided to make it my coffee destination.
Purposefully to squeeze in a wee bit more exercise into the day, I parked at the Falls of Feugh at the bottom of Banchory, and walked up to the high street in a 15min stroll in the gorgeous Spring sun. I knew I was heading for the Birdhouse Cafe, as that was the only place that caught my eye on my car journeys through the town. But I didn’t know what to expect upon arrival, and seeing it was a lovely weekend day I realised I might not get a seat in the small venue.
It did turn out to be more compact then expected, but I was in luck: with all other seats taken or reserved, there was one table free next to the window. Although there were some scrumptious looking treats on the counter where I was placing my order, I decided to only go for the mocha, and once I paid I quickly went to safeguard my space.
That’s when I could appreciate the quirky but charming decor of the place – as well as the world outside the window, and the magazine selection to the left of my seat which made my (short) wait for the coffee more pleasant.
But when the mocha arrived, I was a bit concerned – it was huge (never a good sign in my mind!). I tasted it, and my suspicions were confirmed: under the thick froth, the concoction was rather milky and lacked the punchiness of either the cocoa or the caffeine. There was more sweetness closer to the bottom of the cup (were I struggled getting to due to the size of the drink), which suggested real chocolate being used, but stirring it did little to improve it. Somehow I got through the cup and was glad I hadn’t had anything to eat with it – I was stuffed!
Having said that, the staff were very friendly and the venue was great for a relaxing stopover, so I actually enjoyed my time at the Birdhouse and would definitely recommend it for first-timers!
Verdict justification: A very pleasant cafe, but the coffee needs a bit more character!